The Los Angeles Lakers improved to a Western Conference-best 40-12 with their 125-100 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Rajon Rondo led the way with a season-high 23 points off the bench, converting nine of his 13 field goal attempts.
The Lakers now look to close out the first half of the regular season on a strong note when they return to action for a matchup against the second-place Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.
The two teams are separated by just three games in the standings, presenting the Lakers with an excellent opportunity to further widen that gap as they get set to enter the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend.
Looking for his team to stay on track, head coach Frank Vogel has reminded his players to not lose focus before the break in the schedule.
“We’ve talked about that,” Vogel said prior to the team’s win over the Suns.
“This is a time in the season when teams take losses that they shouldn’t take. We’re playing for something bigger and it’s more important than us. We’re not going to be one of those teams. We’re going to take care of our business.”
While the Lakers will be off for nine days after the game against the Nuggets, multiple players on the team are scheduled to take part in some of the festivities at NBA All-Star Weekend.
Dwight Howard most notably is returning to the Slam Dunk Contest for the first time since 2008. He is one of four participants in the competition, along with Pat Connaughton, Aaron Gordon, and Derrick Jones Jr.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis will additionally represent Team LeBron in the 69th edition of the NBA All-Star Game. Vogel will also serve as the head coach of Team LeBron, with the rest of the roster being revealed last week.
When the second half of play resumes on Feb. 21, the Lakers will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the first of three consecutive games at Staples Center. Other opponents on the homestand include the Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans in what should be an intriguing week of basketball.